RALEIGH – Chapel Hill hasn’t won a State Championship in Men’s Soccer since 1983. The Tigers had an all-time record of 1-4 in their previous State Championship appearances, including a stinging 1-0 defeat by Marvin Ridge in last year’s 3A State Final. This year’s team, remembering that difficult defeat, finished the job with a 2-0 win over A.C. Reynolds.
The two teams battled to a scoreless stalemate at halftime, with neither side registering a shot on goal. A.C. Reynolds’ Izaiah Vignali had the most dangerous scoring opportunity of the first half as he cracked a shot a foot or two over the bar from about 30 yards out.
Chapel Hill got going with an offensive foray into the box turning into a corner kick opportunity in the 62nd minute. Ryan Smith went to the corner and sent in a beautiful out-swinging cross that found Justin Mecham who knocked it through traffic into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
After some furious attempts by A.C. Reynolds, including a corner kick opportunity that saw Vignali take another crack from 20 yards out that was deflected out for another corner, Chapel Hill won a free kick deep in their own end with about two minutes to play. Mecham took the free kick and dropped a ball right on Smith in the edge of the penalty area from about 75 yards out and Smith one-touch volleyed the ball past the keeper to ice the Tiger victory.
A.C. Reynolds finished the season 23-3-2, they were 14-1-1 in the Western Mountain 3A where they were league champions. The Rockets won the Western Regional for the first time in school history and made their first State Championship game appearance.
Chapel Hill wrapped up the season 23-4-1, they were 12-1-1 as the champions of the Big 8 3A. The Tigers made the school’s sixth appearance in an NCHSAA Men’s Soccer State Championship game, winning the school’s second title all-time.
ACR CHHS 9 Shots 6 2 SOG 5 3 Saves 2 16 Fouls 9 6 Corners 7 1 YC 2 0 RC 0
11’ – CH – Justin Mecham shown a yellow card.
11’ – CH – HC Jason Curtis issued a yellow card.
62’ – CH – Justin Mecham goal, assisted by Ryan Smith on a corner kick service. (1-0 CH)
78’ – ARC – Matthew Kennedy shown a yellow card.
78’ – CH – Ryan Smith goal, assisted by Justin Mecham off of a free kick. (2-0 CH)